Posts by tag: Grey Market

Aprilia March 1, 2018 posted by

Sharp-Dressed Hooligan: 1997 Aprilia RS250 With Just 240 Miles for Sale

Update 3.1.2018: We first saw this California unicorn in mid-December last year and the auction was pulled before the conclusion. This time it's back with a buy-it-now of $12,900. Links updated. -dc

Built between 1995 and 2002, although the last couple years were "for off-road use only," the Aprilia RS250 was one of the last holdouts from the two-stroke brigade, following the RGV250 into history. It's also one of the best-looking: some folks can't say no to the garish neon graphics of their youth, but I'm a sucker for the basic black of the RS250. It helps to highlight the beautiful frame and swingarm that manage to look both strong and elegant. Every bike in the class used an aluminum beam frame, but units found on the RGV and NSR were far more straightforward and industrial-looking than the almost sculptural parts used by Aprilia.

I'd be happy with any RS250, but I'm a particular fan of this earlier version's styling, and I think it's one of the best-looking sportbikes of all time. The gauges in particular look less horribly dated than on the later machines. The engine was the same across both versions, and was taken from Suzuki's fierce little RGV250Γ. Aprilia claims that it was "modified" but that appears to have been marketing claptrap: readers more intimately familiar with both machines and with no skin in the game swear they're identical, barring some minor "Aprilia" branding.

Of course, the the fact that the RS250 shared its engine with the RGV250 might lessen its pedigree somewhat, but makes the spares situation much more palatable. In this case, it might not be a problem, since it seems like this particular machine is destined to be lovingly admired instead of happily thrashed...

From the original eBay listing: 1997 Aprilia RS250 for Sale

1997 Aprilia RS250, 240 miles, and a California plate registered to its original 17 digit VIN. That should pretty much sum it up. Bike is in 100% stock original condition and still has the original tires on it. These bikes have the VJ22A RGV250 motor in them which is fantastic when mated to the RS250 chassis ands factory Brembo brakes. Starts right up and purrs away as expected. This is a highly collectible two stroke as not many of these exist and only a handful are registered for the street [see pics]. Current registration, California title in hand, sold as is. Enjoy the ride… The bike is for sale locally so the auction can end at any time, FYI.

Bidding is very active, and up to $7,800 with a couple days left on the auction. It's always disappointing when the seller doesn't include more details about a bike, but what else is there to say? The thing has just 240 miles on it, so pretty much a couple weekends worth of canyon riding over the bike's entire 20 year life. The current tags add significantly to the value, since it's hard to get that paperwork for a grey-market bike in California without "knowing a guy." It's great to hear that it runs, but I can't imagine any new owner would put many more miles on it, and that is especially sad: I know a bunch of guys with very nice grey market two-strokes that would love a chance to thrash this little Aprilia out in the canyons.


Sharp-Dressed Hooligan: 1997 Aprilia RS250 With Just 240 Miles for Sale
Suzuki February 28, 2018 posted by

Very Rare Slingshot: 1989 Suzuki GSX-R750RK for Sale

Update 3.2.2018: My apologies, the links to the first RK we wrote up below led to bike now linked in this post, which is a second RK available from "whiteknuckle". Sorry for the confusion, I'll watch the VINs closer in the future. Good catch, James! -dc

Update 2.28.2018 This GSX-R750RK was first listed last month for $27,500 and is relisted for $24,900 buy-it-now or offer. Links updated. -dc

From the same era as last weekend’s OW01 and a direct competitor on the race track, this Suzuki GSX-R750RR is maybe the least well known of the period’s homologation specials, and it’s my personal opinion that this is the best-looking GSX-R of all time. But it’s also hugely rare, another case where they were supposed to build 500 for homologation purposes, but it’s unclear if that many were actually made. Certainly, they’re extremely hard to find here in the USA, although some did make it to Canada.

Why is the bike so rare? Well the general idea with homologation specials is for the basic platform to win races, so the manufacturers really didn’t care all that much about marketing them, and they were priced accordingly: the GSX-R750RR or “RK” as it was also known was actually a good bit more expensive than Honda’s RC30 and looked far less exotic to anyone not in-the-know. The rules only specified that you had to build 500 examples, not that you actually needed to sell the things.

Why is the bike so special? Well the RK was chock-full of trick, track-ready goodness. First of all, Suzuki used race-spec internals, along with different bore and stroke for the RK. But, counter to usual racing thought, they went from the standard Slingshot's 73 x 44.7mm back to the earlier bike's 70 x 48.7mm and used sand-cast engine cases, along with a brace of 40mm Mikuni CV carbs. Why go to a longer stroke engine? To regain some of the older bike's missing midrange torque, something the new bike was sorely lacking. The oil-cooler was updated [remember that these were oil-cooled], and a second unit was added to keep cylinder head temps under control. A close-ratio six-speed gearbox with an uprated clutch helped handle the abuse racers were likely to inflict. The swingarm was braced, the aluminum tank has a lower profile, the fairing has a revised shape and is made of lighter fiberglass compared to the stock plastic. The frame was revised as well, made thicker around the steering head, and there were updated suspension components at the front and back.

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Suzuki GSX-R750RK for Sale

Up for sale is a beautiful 1989 Suzuki GSX-R750RK GR79C with only 22,801 kilometers (14,168 miles). This rare RK is a homogilation bike from the racing division at Suzuki. JDM model. Very limited build. Bike is 100% stock except for the RUN stickers. All fairings and components are 100% genuine OEM Suzuki factory. Bike only has a few tiny scratches and handling marks from shipping. Rear butt pad is worn, however not bad but needs to be re-upholstered to be perfect. Engine is very clean, no corrosion present. No blistering in the paint. Bike appears to have never been down or crashed. This bike has a ton of curb appeal and presents itself as a bike with 1,400 miles, not 14,000. Runs like the day it was new. New battery and new fluids. Bike comes with Utah state title and is titled as a street bike for road use.

The Buy It Now price is set at $27,500 and there are still a few days left on the listing. Unlike many valuable homologation bikes, this one actually has a few miles on it. Certainly nothing to worry about and, if you plan to ride it on occasion, you at least know that it won't need a complete overhaul before you take it out for a brisk weekend ride. It's always tricky to judge from photos, but this looks to be as described and is in excellent shape for a nearly thirty year old bike... Resplendent in classic Suzuki blue-and-white with the signature red tail section, it's a great-looking machine, although the afterthought-level brake light could have been better integrated...


Very Rare Slingshot: 1989 Suzuki GSX-R750RK for Sale
Honda February 23, 2018 posted by

Very Clean, Very Sharp: 1991 Honda NSR250R MC21 for Sale

The flood of grey-market imports shows no sign of abating and prices, although they haven't been increasing at the same rate as they were, also show no signs of actually decreasing anytime soon. What's the appeal of little two-stroke sportbikes like this Honda NSR250R? Well, power may not be all that impressive on paper: just 45 claimed horses for the restricted versions available in the Japanese market, although they can be derestricted and easily tuned for more power, depending on your budget and willingness to get the thing rebuilt when it blows up...

But 50 or 60hp in a sub-300lb package means agility undreamed of by modern machines, and they're packed with all sorts of technology that was cutting edge at the time. And the peaky little powerplants require skill and involvement to use properly, and they make you work a bit for your speed. Sure, it's cool to run your favorite canyon road in one gear on a large-displacement four-stroke, but your left foot will never get bored riding one of these little things...

Even though these are now much more readily available here in the US, it can be tricky to find really nice examples. They aren't seen as particularly rare or exotic in their home market and were bought and used for their intended purpose: canyon and trackday hooning by aspiring racers emulating their GP heroes. They had cutting-edge technology, but were always relatively affordable, and 80s and 90s Japanese build quality meant that, even when well-maintained, they can get a little scruffy around the edges.

Many of these we've featured show signs of surface corrosion that often leads commenters to claim that the low miles must be a lie, but a bike stored outside, even under cover, in a salt-air environment leads to just that kind of deterioration, and many "original" bikes will need some cosmetic attention if you want their looks to match their mileage, now that these have graduated from "cheap thrasher" to "exotic, two-stroke collectible." Luckily, that doesn't seem to be the case here.

From the original eBay listing: 1991 Honda NSR250R MC21 for Sale

1991 Honda NSR250R MC21 that is a blast to ride with all the intoxicating noises and smells you only get with a 2-stroke. 22,467 kms (13,960 miles). All original except for the front fender, re-painted OEM fuel tank and rear-view mirrors. A great running bike (see YouTube vid) and very well sorted cosmetically considering its age. The bike does has some scratches and touch-up spots here and there as one can expect for being 27 years old and having traveled half-way around the world. The frame is in excellent condition with little to no pitting or corrosion marks. Fuel tank is also in excellent condition with fresh paint and is rust free inside.

All fluids are fresh and fork seals were replace in Jan 2017. Tires are Conti Sport Attack 2s were also replaced in Jan 2017 and have only 1,500 miles on them. Battery is new as of Jan. 2017 and was on a Battery Tender when bike was not in use.

This NSR250R was imported legally and comes with a VIN matching Maryland State title and 3 keys.

Sold as-is and buyer is responsible for shipping or pickup. I will assist as much as I can if shipping is needed and can recommend a couple shippers I have worked with.

Please email with any questions before bidding. While I am certain the buyer will be happy I want to make sure all questions and concerns are dealt with before hand.

This NSR250R has managed to avoid that particular problem and, aside from some pretty minor wear, looks to be in excellent condition. A couple bits are, as the seller mentioned, repainted, but there's no shame in that on a bike nearly 30 years old. The seller includes a nice video of the bike being started and running, which is always nice. With a clean title, the $7,250 asking price seems pretty fair, but there are no takers as yet and there is very little time left on the auction.


Very Clean, Very Sharp: 1991 Honda NSR250R MC21 for Sale
Suzuki February 10, 2018 posted by

Rare Screamer: 1987 Suzuki GSX-R400 GK71 for Sale

Most times, even if their models share no significant components, motorcycle manufacturers go to great lengths to make sure their bikes all share a strong familial resemblance. In fact, the most recent GSX-R600 and 750 are virtually identical and appear to share their frames and body panels, with only their engine displacements, graphic treatments, and tachometer faces to differentiate them. That makes particular sense at the moment, since the GSX-R750 has pretty much been in a class of one since the the ascendance of the 1000cc machines and developing a bike that shared most of its important components with another mass-produced model was virtually a requirement. Ironically, with the seeming demise of the 600 supersport class, I wonder if it won't be the 750 that has the last laugh... In any event, the designers of the GK71 version of the Suzuki GSX-R400 clearly didn't get that memo.

Taking a look at the bigger 750 and 1100 versions of the GSX-R, this 400 looks markedly different. The tail is sleeker, with a pronounced taper when viewed from the rear, the fairing has several rows of gills, like a small, primitive shark, a single headlight in place of its bigger siblings' round units, and an actual dash, instead of a foam instrument surround. All-in-all, it's very obviously a Suzuki, but looks very little like the larger GSX-R models.

The seller refers to this as a 1987 and a shot of the title confirms this but, supposedly, the 1987 had twin headlamps and gold brake calipers, so this may in fact be a 1986 model year bike, since that appears to have been the only year with the rectangular headlamp. The exhaust pipe would also have more of a perforated style shroud like the 750 and 1100, but the aftermarket Micron fitted here makes it hard to say for sure. Regardless, you're looking at a 398cc inline four making 60hp and backed by a six-speed gearbox, hung in an aluminum twin-spar frame with a weight of 337lbs dry.

From the original eBay listing: 1987 Suzuki GSX-R400 GK71 for Sale

Here we have a rare, well maintained, and super quick Suzuki GK71 GSX-R400. This is a clean machine sporting corrosion free aluminum frame/swingarm, stock fairings, and only minor imperfections. It sounds great, and pulls linearly all the way up to redline. I had great fun running this bike over the mountain during last year's TT races on the Isle of Man. It ran faultlessly, and was the impetus of many a conversation with other race fans.

The GSX-R400 was rarely seen outside Japan, and there's been little interest in the bike for the most part, as it wasn't nearly as exotic as the Honda NC30, as refined as the CBR400, or as agile and affordable as the FZR400. It was a bit crude in comparison, but was still a very competent, relatively sophisticated machine, and a slight lack of performance compared to rivals shouldn't discourage anyone at this point. 30,000 miles is on the high end for a collectible sportbike, but assuming it's been properly maintained and cared for, that wouldn't put me off too much assuming the price was right. And considering the bidding is up a bit over $1,500 I think you'd have a hard time finding something else that offers this combination of rarity and unintimidating performance.


Rare Screamer: 1987 Suzuki GSX-R400 GK71 for Sale
Suzuki February 2, 2018 posted by

Big Style, Modest Power: 1991 Suzuki GSX-R400 GK76 for Sale

I ran into a nice young rider the other weekend while I was eyeing his flat grey EBR 1190RX. We talked about the bike and all its neato Buell-y features, and he asked me what I was riding, so I introduced him to my Daytona, which also happens to be grey... "Aren't you a little big for that?" He asked.  Obvious "that's what she said" jokes aside, it highlighted a common misconception, at least here in the USA: smaller sportbikes are "learner" machines, and serious riders should move up to a "real" bike as soon as possible. Of course, bikes like today's Suzuki GSX-R400 are an argument that maybe smaller is just fine, and that there's plenty of fun to be had on a motorcycle that offers serious handling, but only modest straight-line performance.

Strict licensing and taxes on displacement mean that bigger bikes can be flat out impossible in many overseas markets, no matter your experience or skill. In those places it was often the 400cc class that was hotly contested throughout the late 80s and early 90s: witness the fact that the FZR600 was the lowest-spec bike of Yamaha's sportbike range with a glaring, low-tech difference: it used a relatively heavy steel frame instead of a lighter aluminum unit as seen on the 400cc and 1000cc models. In fact, the very first GSX-R was actually a 400cc model, and Suzuki applied the lessons learned to their smash-hit GSX-R750, although many aren't aware that the earlier bike even existed.

The third iteration of the evergreen Gixxer is also currently the least desirable, and this GSX-R400 is styled to match its bigger siblings. Not only does this generation still exist in that nether region between classic and modern, the bikes were generally heavier than the bikes they followed, with less performance. The Gixxer was peakier and a bit cruder than competitors like the CBR400, and as a result it was a bit of an also-ran, although it should still offer plenty of bang for your buck. Weight for this version of the GSX-R400 was 367lbs dry and the little 398cc inline four made 59hp at 12,500rpm.

From the original eBay listing: 1991 Suzuki GSX-R400 for Sale

Up for No Reserve auction we have a 1991 Suzuki GK76 GSX-R400. This bike sports slick OEM graphics, and is quite a good looking machine. It has recently been tagged and registered in Tennessee and is ready for the road. On the performance front I feel the carbs would benefit from a good cleaning. With that said, the bike starts up easily enough, idles, and runs right on up to redline. These are rather difficult to come by, and this one will make a nice addition to someone's collection.

Considering how popular Suzuki's sportbikes have been worldwide, it's surprising we haven't seen more of these up for sale here in the US, now that they can be legally imported. They certainly weren't the the best 400s but, being a Suzuki, plenty were sold. The seller includes a nice little video of the bike being zapped up and down a backroad, and it's nice to see that the bike is a solid runner, because it's not in showroom-perfect condition: aside from some scratches and plastic bits that have naturally discolored with age, the end can looks to be in pretty sorry shape and the non-standard turn signals are small and unobtrusive, but their fake-y "carbon" finish isn't very tasteful and originals might be difficult to source, depending on whether or not they're exclusive to this model... But all of that can be overlooked if the price is right, and with just two days left on the auction, that price is a mere $2,225 which could make it a screaming deal of a little screamer, if the bidding stays low.


Big Style, Modest Power: 1991 Suzuki GSX-R400 GK76 for Sale
Kawasaki January 11, 2018 posted by

Cali-Titled Two-Stroke: 1990 Kawasaki KR-1S for Sale

During the 1980s and early 1990s, the vibrant quarter-liter two-stroke class saw the NSR, RGV, and TZR go at it with knife-fight-in-a-phone-booth intensity. Notably missing from much of the action was Kawasaki. It didn't help that Kawasaki didn't start building a two-stroke sportbike until 1988 and abandoned the class in 1992, before the other Japanese manufacturers and, as a result, the Kawasaki KR-1S is a bit of a holy grail for two-stroke fans in the USA. They're really nearly impossible to find in any market, as Kawasaki produced less than 10,000 examples in total, and they were obviously never sold here in the US.

If all you've done is glance at the spec sheets of the class competitors, you could be forgiven for thinking the bikes in this class were pretty much the same, with two-cylinder, liquid-cooled two-strokes, aluminum beam frames, six-speed gearboxes, and a suspiciously identical 45hp output. In fact, sometimes only a catchy acronym for the power valve gives the manufacturer away, although KIPS, ATAC, SAPC, and YPVS all performed basically the same basic function. But period road tests and two-stroke enthusiasts claim that each has a distinct character that seems line with corporate sterotypes: Honda's NSR was sophisticated and refined, while Suzuki's RGV was a bit of an unruly wild-child, fast and a bit fragile. But although Kawasaki joined the party late and left early, they left an indelible impression and their KR-1S was claimed to be the fastest, the easiest to tune, and have the hairiest handling of the bunch.

The KR-1S was powered by a liquid-cooled 249cc parallel-twin with a 180° crankshaft that also drove a balance shaft to improve smoothness, and put power to the back wheel through a six-speed gearbox. The "S" model seen here featured wider wheels at the front and rear, and tested top speed of 139mph. An "R" model was also available, but is nearly impossible to find, with fewer than 200 built. Interestingly enough, last month's Practical Sportbikes features an article that discusses the rebuild of a KR-1R in detail.

Like yesterday's ZX-7R, this KR-1S is slathered in green, white, and blue graphics that suit the bike's brash personality. Happily, the seller also includes images of the bike with the fairing removed, as it shows off the very slick aftermarket expansion chambers and another odd detail: the engine sits almost entirely below the frame! That of course keeps the bike relatively narrow, but seems strange that most of the engine is suspended beneath the frame, rather than nestled between the frame spars.

From the original eBay listing: 1990 Kawasaki KR-1S for Sale

1990 Kawasaki KR1S C2. I am relisting and selling another bike out of my prize collection. Journalist called the KR1-S the most exotic and fastest of all the 250 2 stokes of that era. This KR1S is a UK model. Which means UK CDI power box, mile per hour speedo. Non-restrictive. Always been in street bike form. Not a converted back race bike. This is truly a rare bike. Unlike NSR’s, TZR’s and RGV’s and even Aprilia RS’s that come up for sale now and then, you very rarely see one of these for sale. I have owned this bike for over 10 years. I have spent many of thousands of dollars on upgrades. I mean many! I installed a pricy set of Dyna mags magnesium rims. The old KR1S aluminum rims came with a 17” front and an 18” rear. These are 17” front and back. Light weight magnesium and make sporty tires more available. I have put on a set of Michelin pilot sport tires. Green D.I.D.  O-Ring chain with gold aluminum sprocket. Beautiful high end custom steering damper. Then I had made a JMC fully braced swingarm with eccentric adjustment. Beautifully polished. I was told at the time that this was the only top braced swingarm that JMC has ever made for the KR1S. I installed a huge custom made “Pace” radiator made for the KR1S. This radiator is huge, and solves the problem of any overheating. If anything I have to tape of part of the radiator when its cool out. But a nice position to be in. Silicone radiator hose are used. Then I purchased a nice new set of Jolly Moto pipes with Carbon silencers. Bikes sound great and pulls better. I had the rear shock rebuilt and the shock spring powder coated green to match the bike. Front forks have been recently rebuilt with all new bushings, oil and seals. Rebuilt both the front and rear calibers with new stainless pistons, bolts, and seals. I had them powder coated too. Custom made steel braided brakes lines with aluminum fittings. They look like new. I also installed new light weight disks front and back.  Have a fortune in light weight titanium, stainless, and aluminum bolts throughout.  All the lights and switches work. The bike has 16,600 miles on it. So a far as I know the motor has never been touched.  I had plans to rebuild the motor and including all the parts to do it.  I have everything needed to build it included. But now I have gotten old and don’t have time for this project. I have tuned it up, changed all the fluids. Adjusted the power valves, etc. Bike does still run strong but mileage is getting up there for 28 year 2 stroke. The original bodywork on the bike is not too bad for its age but not perfect either. I had a few tabs and small cracks repaired. The tank has a couple tiny little chips, but is in remarkably in good shape for its age. No dents. The tank is clean inside without rust. The body panels have a few scratches and touched up spots.  Still not all that bad for its age either. Please refer to the pictures for more details. I am including the stock rims with a brand new fresh powder coat on them. The stock pipes, radiator, manuals, and various other parts as seen in my list and pictures. Lots of stuff.

The following is a list of some of the parts that are included with the bike, but not complete. No much to list. Please refer to pictures.

  • 4 brand new piston sets, including, rings, pins, clips, and small ends
  • Complete set of crank seals and crank bearings, plus new rod sets. Everything needed to completely rebuild the crank like new.
  • 3 gaskets set, plus one extra head gasket
  • New Water pump part set
  • New carb sets including floats
  • Power valve seals
  • New billet aluminum power valves and power valve wheels
  • 1 extra new front disk
  • Numerous new seals and bearing that go into the motor
  • Stock pipes in good condition
  • Stock swingarm with fresh paint and new bearings and seals. Like new
  • Stock radiator in excellent condition
  • Stock wheels with fresh powder coating, sprocket,  and cush drive

All the old wheel bearing, wheel spacers, front and back disks, sprockets, brake lines, and caliber parts. The old original nuts and bolts that were replaced with titanium and stainless, aluminum

Bike comes with a current California registration and title!  Has all the correct serial and engine numbers, but is listed as a 1980 instead of a 1990. You might think that wow I am asking way too much for this bike? I say “find don’t buy it then”. What I can say how often you see one of these for sale in this condition, with all these extras and titled too? Try to find another? These bikes are only going to increase in value as time passes. Plus I am including thousands of dollars in extra parts.

So the $17,500 asking price is big money for a two-stroke sportbike, but I'm betting it will find a buyer: if that California title is valid, I know a couple folks who'd love to snap it up, and it's really not all that far off what folks have been asking for pristine NSR250s recently. It isn't completely stock, but all of the upgrades described by the seller are clearly intended to thoughtfully boost performance and handling. All-in-all, it's one of the coolest bikes we've posted recently.


Cali-Titled Two-Stroke: 1990 Kawasaki KR-1S for Sale